Having trouble finding a job? One easy strategy for keeping current in your field and increasing the odds of landing a job is by actively volunteering at organizations that can use your skills. Volunteering not only helps your community, it boosts your morale while teaching you new skills. It can also help you build a network of contacts who may know of available job postings and would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation.
I landed my first job in 1975 as an Emergency Medical Technician after volunteering for a summer in the emergency room of my local hospital. Becoming a part of this newly emerging career field would have never happened if it weren't for all those hours of volunteer work.
Volunteerism can lead to all kinds of interesting jobs. Here's a few examples of other volunteer work that resulted in jobs for my family.
US Forest Service fire fighter. When my kid brother graduated from high school in 1982, the only jobs he could find were volunteer ones. He accepted a volunteer job with the US Forest Service as a lookout and the following summer went on to become one of their youngest ever Hot Shots, an elite group of front-line fire fighters. He worked for the US Forest Service until graduating from college when he took a corporate job.
Bookkeeping. Over the years, I've served on the boards of several non-profits in the role of Treasurer which involved performing a number of finance-related tasks such as writing business checks, payroll checks, preparing tax returns, accounts receivable and payable, and creating profit and loss statements. These skills are the same ones that small businesses search for in a bookkeeper which is why these days I provide bookkeeping services - for pay - for several small companies.
Camp counselor. One of my sons was a Y volunteer which he parlayed into a great paying summer job as a camp counselor. The knowledge he gained first as a volunteer, then as a Senior wilderness camp counselor furnished him with the leadership experience he needed to be accepted in the US Army's Officer Candidate School.
Internship. Even my husband's first job was a result of a summer internship. He volunteered at a local business to gain more experience and by the end of the summer was offered a full time position, beating out dozens of applicants.
A scarcity of jobs combined with a growing labor pool means that the unemployed must use every strategy possible to get noticed. Volunteering your time is one strategy that can make a difference.
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